6. Travel options
6.1 Air travel
Air travel should only be undertaken after remote communication tools, such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing, have been considered. The travel approver must be satisfied that there is a demonstrated business need and must consider the following when selecting a fare for travel:
- Fare class: all air travel must be booked using the best price of the day guidelines and in the class of travel permitted under the policy (economy for domestic travel under 3 hours, business class for domestic travel over 3 hours, and either one of economy, premium economy or business class for overseas travel).
- Fare type: where there is a high degree of certainty of arrival or departure times, travellers must consider restricted fare types. Where there is a possibility that a scheduled meeting will not proceed, or there is uncertainty around the time that a scheduled meeting may conclude, travellers must consider whether the additional cost of flexible fares outweighs the cost of possible changes or cancellation fees.
- Value for money: travellers must compare fare classes and types across airlines servicing the particular route required. Each leg (outbound and inbound) must be considered separately.
- Advance booking: in order to benefit from the available best price of the day, domestic travel should be booked at least 2 weeks in advance and overseas travel should be booked at least 3 weeks in advance, where possible.
6.1.1 Approved airlines
The Victorian Government has access to discounted rates with a wide range of airlines. It is advised that these carriers are used when flying on official business and where this meets travel requirements. Contact the TMSC for a preferred-carriers list. The TMSC will provide fare comparison services through its online booking tool and the consulting services offered.
Schools-based travellers may use alternative channels to source and book their travel requirements in line with the best price of the day guidelines, but the use of the TMSC is recommended.
6.1.2 Intra‑state travel
Travellers should not drive a vehicle under conditions in which fatigue is likely to arise. Day trips are preferred and travel should be arranged where possible to avoid overnight stays in the location that the traveller is visiting.
As a rule of thumb, Intra-state air travel should only be used where all other transport options exceed 2 hours, one way.
6.1.3 Inter-state air travel
If schools elect to use the TMSC, all travel within Australia and to New Zealand must be booked via the TMSC’s online booking tool. Travellers must select the cheapest carrier offering flights suitable to government needs, in line with the best price of the day policy and subject to paragraph 6.1.
Inter-state air travel of 3 hours or less must be in economy. Business class is permitted for trips that exceed 3 hours (from origin airport to destination airport).
6.1.4 International air travel
International travel may be booked in economy, premium economy or business class. No international air travel is to be undertaken unless demonstrated that appropriate representation could not have been made by DET representatives in the destination country (if applicable) and/or via teleconference.
The TMSC has negotiated competitive rates for travel to all International destinations with a range of airlines. If schools elect to use the TMSC, travellers travelling internationally for business purposes must use one of these airlines. The TMSC’s travel consultants will outline the carriers’ options for each itinerary.
6.1.5 Frequent flyer points and airline/hotel lounges
Travellers must not accumulate frequent flyer or other reward points when travelling on government business.
Frequent flyer schemes or similar loyalty programs have the potential to influence the choice of travel supplier for official travel and undermine the ‘best price of the day’ principle. The use of benefits derived from these programs may create reputational risks for the Victorian Government.
The reimbursement of costs associated with airline or hotel lounge membership must be approved in writing by the secretary.
6.1.6 Emergency travel arrangements
The after‑hours service provided by the TMSC may be used for urgent bookings and urgent travel arrangement changes only. Contact details are available on the VGPB .
6.2.1 Accommodation selection
When choosing accommodation, travellers should choose the best price of the day available at the destination location. Due consideration should be given to factors such as proximity to the location of the official business and/or access to public transport options.
Travel approvers should also assure themselves that travellers will not be required to drive a vehicle under conditions in which fatigue is likely to arise.
6.3 Car rental
The use of the TMSC for vehicle hire is recommended. Alternatively, the lowest rate option from 3 quotes may be booked.
6.3.1 Car type
The default is compact or medium cars, subject to availability. Chauffeur-driven car or limousine hire is prohibited. Exceptions may be authorised by the secretary for approved travel in dangerous locations.
Reviewed 27 May 2022